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Some races still not done
Probate, magistrate to be decided in Dec. 2 runoffs
11.07 jones reads results
Herb Jones reads the results to the crowd at the Effingham County Board of Education auditorium. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

A look at the chief magistrate and probate judge races and other notable races

Chief Magistrate
Scott Hinson    6,547    38.9
Scott Lewis    4,389    26.08
Stan Mann    3,438    20.43
Solomon Smith    2,428    14.42
Judge of the Probate Court
Beth Rahn Mosley    7,490    44.03
Richard Rafter    6,636    39.01
Judy Suhor    2,864    16.83
Homestead Exemption
Yes    14,418    78.89
No    3,858    21.11
Homestead Exemption-School District
Yes    13,675    75.37
No    4,469    24.63
Amendment 1
Yes    12,951    69.79
No    5,606    30.21
Amendment 2
Yes    8,867    47.32
No    9,873    52.68
Amendment 3
Yes    7,882    45.02
No    9,625    54.98
John McCain    15,230    74.87
Barack Obama    4,936    24.27
Bob Barr    132    0.65
U.S. Senate
Saxby Chambliss (I)    13,066    67.1
Joe Martin    5,634    28.93
Allen Buckley    762    3.91


The campaigning isn’t over for four Effingham County candidates.

Runoffs will be held in the chief magistrate and probate court judge races after no one in either managed to garner the 50 percent plus one needed to win outright Tuesday.

Local realtor Beth Rahn Mosley was the leading vote-getter in the three-way race to replace the retired Frances Seckinger as probate court judge. Mosley finished with 7,490 votes while local attorney Rick Rafter had 6,636 votes, leaving them to contest the seat in the runoff. Judy Suhor, the probate court chief clerk who had been running the office since Seckinger’s abrupt retirement in April, received 2,864 votes.

“It’s been intense, and there’s still a ways to go,” Rafter said Tuesday night.

The runoff will be held Dec. 2, in conjunction with similar deciding votes on chief magistrate, a state court of appeals seat and a U.S. Senate seat.

Scott Hinson received the most votes of the four magistrate candidates, finishing with 6,547 and 1,158 more in front of his nearest competitor. Scott Lewis, a deputy with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, was second, and Hinson and Lewis will be the final two on the ballot for the runoff. Lewis finished 951 votes ahead of third-place Stan Mann. Solomon Smith captured 2,428 votes.

“I’m pleased with the results,” said Hinson, who had 38.9 percent of the votes. “It gives me a little bit of confidence.”

But the prospect of having to continue campaigning for another month looms.

“I’m not looking forward to a runoff,” Hinson said. “It was a lot, going the last two to three months.”

The magistrate race was marked by a congenial atmosphere among the candidates.

“It’s been pretty pleasurable with the guys I’ve been running against,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, we can get the people out to vote again.”

Said Hinson: “It’s been a great experience. I’ve enjoyed it and mainly because of the other three guys. But we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next four weeks.”

Hinson had 4,004 voters favor him on Tuesday and 2,253 early and advanced voters picked him. Lewis took 3,003 of the votes Tuesday and had 1,250 early and advanced voters. No magistrate candidate captured more than 50 percent of the votes at any single precinct.

Neither Lewis nor Hinson expects anything close to the 16,832 votes cast in their race for the Dec. 2 runoff.

“Getting those people back out to vote is going to be a challenge,” Hinson said.

Said Lewis: “I don’t see people taking an interest in a runoff.”

In the probate court race, Mosley had 44 percent of the vote and enjoyed a 543-vote margin among the 5,123 votes cast in absentee and early voting. She outpolled Rafter 4,834-4,572 on Tuesday and was the only candidate to take more than 50 percent of the vote at any precinct, doing so at 1C (Meldrim Baptist Church) and 3E (Fellowship Bible Church).

“Getting people to come back is going to be the hard part,” Rafter said. “I would hope people would go back and look at the qualifications and pick the person who was the best qualified for the job.”